It’s been almost a decade since the Anaheim Ducks lost at home to Calgary. Dustin Penner and his teammates were happy to extend the streak.
Penner scored two goals and Saku Koivu had two assists in his long-awaited return to the lineup, leading the Ducks to a 5-2 victory Friday over Calgary – their 18th straight over the Flames at Honda Center.
The streak is the Ducks’ longest in their building against any opponent. Calgary hasn’t beaten Anaheim on the road since Jan. 19, 2004; only three players on Calgary’s current roster had made their NHL debut by then: Michael Cammalleri, Jiri Hudler and Matt Stajan.
”I had no idea, but we know they’re in a rebuild mode now with a lot of young guys and those guys are working real hard and fighting for jobs,” said Penner, who had the 13th multigoal game of his career. ”A team like that can come in and surprise you if you’re not ready.”
The Ducks were not assessed a penalty for only the fifth time in club history.
”That was good,” captain Ryan Getzlaf said. ”We were using our legs a lot more, and I think we did a better job of keeping our mouths shut and staying off the referees. That helps, because you don’t get distracted and get lazy.”
Sami Vatanen and Corey Perry scored 54 seconds apart in the first period. Perry and Andrew Cogliano each had a goal and an assist during Anaheim’s 42-shot barrage, and rookie Frederik Andersen made 19 saves for the defending Pacific Division champions, who are off to a franchise-best 10-0-1 start at home.
Anaheim is the only NHL team that hasn’t lost at home in regulation. New Jersey beat the Ducks 4-3 in overtime on Nov. 20.
Ladislav Smid and David Jones scored second-period goals for the Flames. They have won only two of 11 games since beating the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks in overtime on Nov. 3 at Chicago.
”I didn’t know we had such a tough go here, but they are a good team,” Jones said. ”They have a lot of talent with that big line out there – the Getzlaf line – and they kind of exploited us out there.”
Calgary played without impressive rookie Sean Monahan, sidelined with a non-displaced hairline fracture in his left foot. Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman also missed his first game of the season because of a broken left hand.
”We don’t want to make any excuses with injuries. Every team goes through that, and other guys just have to step up and be leaders,” Smid said. ”I thought we were really flat in the first period. We had a good talk between periods and I thought we came back stronger in the second. But we made some mistakes, had some turnovers and it pretty much cost us the game.”
Anaheim center Nick Bonino, who signed a three-year, $5.7 million contract extension Thursday, got an assist on Penner’s first goal to help the Ducks extend their lead to 3-0. Getzlaf faked a 50-foot slap shot on a power play and found Penner at the left of the crease.
Penner then put the game away at 11:24 of the third with his ninth of the season and fifth in three games.
”He’s playing great,” Getzlaf said. ”When he came back here, he wasn’t necessarily ready to play this season – and he knows that. But he put his work in. He skated after practice and did his bike rides – everything he needed to do to be in shape to play 19-20 minutes a night. So everything’s going along properly and we’re working together really well.”
The Ducks, who gave up three third-period goals in a 53-second span Tuesday at Dallas, were outshooting Calgary 20-6 with a 3-0 lead when Smid got his second goal of the season.
”We needed a rebound game,” Getzlaf said. ”It’s not about where they are in the standings. We just had to get back to our game at home. I mean, I didn’t even know about this streak until the last game when somebody brought it up to me. We don’t worry about that stuff. We didn’t even talk about that before the game.”
Koivu, who missed 15 games with a concussion, started on a line between Cogliano and Daniel Winnik. Cogliano finished off a 2-on-1 rush with Winnik midway through the second period, beating Reto Berra with a short backhander to the stick side.
”Physically, I felt surprisingly good,” Koivu said. ”Coming back from a concussion, which is a first for me, I was a little hesitant in the first period. Then in the second half I felt a little more comfortable. You can only get so much contact in practice. You need a couple games to really see how you feel. But tonight I felt fine.”
Jones narrowed the gap to 4-2 less than 4 minutes later with an unassisted goal after Koivu’s turnover. But Penner put it away in the third period, causing Calgary coach Bob Hartley to replace Berra with Karri Ramo.
”We had no answer for the Getzlaf, Perry and Penner line. Those guys basically dominated us the entire game,” Hartley said. ”They are a big team, they crash the net, generate lots of traffic and just grind it out. I don’t think any goalies would have made a difference. It was already planned that Karri Ramo was going to start tomorrow, so that is why we put him in after their fifth goal.”
NOTES: The Flames have one regulation victory in their last 28 visits to Anaheim. … The Ducks were 1 for 21 on the power play in their previous eight games against Calgary. … The Flames are 0-10-2 when trailing after two periods. … The Ducks were 8-4-3 in Koivu’s absence. … Anaheim D Hampus Lindholm’s plus-14 rating is the best among rookies.